I set out in writing this to explain why I have just begun to consider quitting as a Chiefs fan. I realized through writing it that I am not ready to leave them just yet, but it WILL happen if they don't make some bold moves this year.
I have been a Chiefs fan since 2002. I have always considered myself a diehard Chiefs fan. Win or Lose, I'll be proud to cheer for my team. Chiefs in football and Jayhawks in basketball.
Back in 2003, I loved watching my Chiefs! They were fun to watch, they made plays when you didn't expect it, and they even put up more points than the other team! I didn't know what I had until it was gone. I saw the Chiefs come into every game with a realistic chance to win--even an expectation. And that went on long enough to become the norm. I continued to have that expectation year after year, right up through last week.
Every week I just had a feeling they could get a win. Even last week against the Raiders, they were coming off a bye week and had a new starting QB. There was a chance that they could turn the season around. There was a reason for optimism. But I get up this morning and it is gone. I can't see the Chiefs having a chance against the Chargers. I can't see the Chiefs winning a game this season. Frankly, I don't expect them to. They are (all but) out of the playoffs less than halfway through. They will get nothing out of the season if they keep struggling through games like this.
Losing is Contagious
The fact is, the Chiefs have just developed a culture of losing. To quote my high school football coach, "Winning is contagious. Losing is contagious." The change in coach last year sparked some wins because it was a change. It got the Chiefs out of their everyday expectation that they would lose. But as long as they keep the same coaches that they have now, they simply will not catch the winning bug.
The hardest part of it all is that I don't know who to blame it on. It's someone new every week. It is easy to say "Cassel" because he has so much pressure on him every week. However, when he has a game like yesterday, completing 66% of passes, throwing for a touchdown, and running for first downs, that is hard to do. He threw a pick, but it appeared to be the receiver's fault. He fumbled a snap, but it could easily have been the fault of that 11-year-old girl who took over for us at center this week. You know, the one who tries to bowl by slowly rolling the ball backwards between her legs.
I see the Broncos offense come off the field for a offensive meeting led by their quarterback, not to celebrate, but to MAKE CORRECTIONS for their next possession AFTER SCORING A TOUCHDOWN. And earlier in the day I saw Ryan Lilja snapping the ball poorly every single shotgun, throwing Cassel out of his comfort zone, then walk off the field, exchange a few words with a coach, and then sit down on the bench rather than practicing snaps.
One way my coach's quote could be altered is to make it, "losing [the football] is contagious." The problem with just blaming "turnovers" on our losses is that they come from anyone. Balls tipped off receivers hands, QB picks, QB fumbles. Some of those QB fumbles, though, only happen because a defender comes through virtually untouched from the blindside in half a second, when the quarterback couldn't expect a hit yet. Running backs fumble it. Our punt returner fumbles it. It's a team-wide problem. When you have a team-wide problem, that means you have a coaching problem. Receivers coach, QB coach, RB coach, head coach (that's you, Romeo. You're not simply the DC any longer), WORK ON IT.
acceptable survivable if you get just as many or more takeaways. Where are the takeaways? We have a defense that really is not bad. Even yesterday, they held Oakland to just over 4 ypc. Much lower if not for three 20-30 yard runs. They just give up the deep pass too often. Palmer only completed 50% of his passes yesterday, but completed long ones. The problem is the Chiefs don't punish opposing QBs for throwing it deep. Deep balls should be picked off with much greater frequency than short passes. However, I remember the Bills and the Raiders just throwing it deep time and time again without getting picked off. Where is the pass rush(read: blitzing)? Where are our safeties? Also, where are our linebackers? All 4 of them should be hitting hard enough to cause some fumbles. It just doesn't happen. The coaches are not putting our extremely skilled (see Berry, Eric) playmakers in a position to make plays.
What do you think?
Obviously good players should already know how to avoid these turnovers or create turnovers but when the players are failing to do that, the coaches have to do something about it. It is a problem with players but coaching isn't helping. When the other team seems to come up with every loose/tipped ball, you would think it is just bad luck, but luck eventually turns. When it is a constant problem over 7 straight games, it is either the worst stretch of luck in NFL history or a major problem that needs to be corrected.